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Volume 24 No. 156

Franchises

          The Blue Jays announced a price increase for their top
     tickets, except for season-ticket holders, according to
     Larry Millson of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  The most
     expensive field-level seats jump from $25 to $27.50.  In
     addition, all home night games will begin at 7:05pm ET, 30
     minutes earlier than previously (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/19).
          BLUE CHRISTMAS: The Blue Jays dismissed Dir of
     Marketing Paul Markle and VP/Development Christine Legein.
     Team VP/Business Bob Nicholson said that the moves are the
     result of a restructuring of the business operations and the
     positions would not be refilled (TORONTO SUN, 12/19).
          SCHEDULE SNAFU: On April 19, the Jays and Raptors are
     each scheduled to play a 1:05pm home game at the SkyDome. 
     Raptors President Richard Peddie: "We're looking at
     solutions and we hope to announce something shortly."  The
     Jays have priority at the stadium (TORONTO SUN, 12/19).   

          Local suitors for the NHL Oilers "are gathering
     momentum, but they're not ready to throw their weight behind
     a new offer" for the team before Christmas, according to Jac
     MacDonald of the EDMONTON JOURNAL.  Two more have joined a
     local group interested in the team, as Gary Gregg, brother
     of former Oiler Dr. Randy Gregg, has joined along with local
     business exec Art Michalcheon.  The group's spokesperson,
     Cal Nichols, said it won't make any bid soon, but instead
     will "devote its time to gathering more investors and more
     money."  Meanwhile, another Oilers suitor, Rockets Owner Les
     Alexander, said that he is scheduled to meet with NHL
     Commissioner Gary Bettman today about his interest in
     acquiring an NHL franchise (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 12/19).

          "Women's professional basketball is not the Rage in
     Philadelphia," according to Edward Moran of the PHILADELPHIA
     DAILY NEWS.  After 12 games, the team is "falling far short"
     of the 5,000-per-game attendance average the league "hoped"
     for when it moved the team from Richmond.  The "team
     averages only 3,210 fans per game, only 98 more fans that it
     averaged during the first 12 home games last season in
     Richmond."  Moran: "The team still is trying to get the
     public's attention" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 12/19).

          The financial impact of the Jets' and Giants' success
     this season is examined by Richard Sandomir of the N.Y.
     TIMES.  The Jets' gross parking revenues have risen 40% to
     $1.93M and concession sales have increased 50.4% to
     $993,247.  The Giants' parking revenues have increased 5% to
     $1.93M and concession revenues have jumped 21% to $1M. In
     addition, Reebok, the uniform supplier to the Giants, and
     Starter, the supplier to the Jets, "report big demand for
     their products" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 12/19).

          Marlins President Don Smiley said that he "still
     expects to buy the team from" Owner Wayne Huizenga but
     admitted that he is "tinkering with his strategy," according
     to Antonio Fins of the Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL.  Smiley
     said that "he is ready to drop his original strategy of
     seeking to piece together a group of as many as 30 investors
     each pitching" in $5M.  Smiley: "I thought the business
     community would step up in a more significant way."  Smiley
     said that he was still talking to members of The Ackerley
     Group, headed by Sonics Owner Barry Ackerley, one day after
     it said it wasn't interested in being part of a group bid
     (Antonio Fins, Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 12/19).

          Senators Chair Rod Bryden said that the team, which is
     coming off losses of between C$30-35M over two years, "will
     be in a position to make money next season," according to
     Jeff Blair of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  But the Senators
     will do it "without any infusion from new corporate owners"
     since a hunt for new investors "has come up dry."  At a
     meeting yesterday, Bryden offered the club's limited
     partners a chance to convert their partnership units into
     shares in a corporation (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/19).